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MOVIE INFO

Director:
David S. Goyer
Cast:
Wesley Snipes, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Parker Posey, Kris Kristofferson, Dominic Purcell
Writing Credits:
Marv Wolfman (character), Gene Colan (character), David S. Goyer

Tagline:
The final hunt begins.

Synopsis:
Where it began so shall it end. Blade (Wesley Snipes) returns as the ultimate vampire hunter in the explosive third and final film, Blade: Trinity. For years, Blade has fought against the vampires in the cover of the night. But now, after falling into the crosshairs of the FBI, he is forced out into the daylight, where he is driven to join forces with a clan of human vampire hunters he never knew existed - The Nightstalkers. Together with Abigail (Jessica Biel) and Hannibal (Ryan Reynolds), two deftly trained Nightstalkers, Blade follows a trail of blood to the ancient creature that is also hunting him, the original vampire, Dracula.

Box Office:
Budget
$65 million.
Opening Weekend
$16.061 million on 2912 screens.
Domestic Gross
$52.397 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital EX 5.1
English DTS ES 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 122 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 4/26/2005

Bonus:
Disc One
• Theatrical and Extended Versions of the Film
• Audio Commentary With Writer/Director/Producer David S. Goyer and Actors Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel
• Audio Commentary With Writer/Director/Producer David S. Goyer, Producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, Cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, Production Designer Chris Gorak, and Editor Howard E. Smith
Disc Two
• “Inside the World of Blade: Trinity” Documentary
• “Goyer On Goyer: The Writer Interviews the Director”
• Alternate Ending
• Blooper Reel
• Galleries
• Trailers
• Easter Egg

• Exclusive Comic Book


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Blade: Trinity - New Line Platinum Series (Unrated Version) (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 11, 2005)

When Blade hit the screens in 1998, it looked like nothing more than another trashy comic book adaptation. Instead, it proved to be inventive and exciting. When the sequel appeared in 2002, it didn’t quite live up to the standards set by its predecessor, but it came closer than we had a right to expect as it created an involving world of its own.

Would the third time be as effective? Unfortunately, no. Although Trinity has its moments, it definitely goes down as the series’ weakest component.

At the film’s start, vampires led by Danica Talos (Parker Posey) search an edifice in the Syrian Desert and capture a nasty figure called Drake (Dominic Purcell). From there we jump back to America where we see Blade (Wesley Snipes) chase vampires, though it turns out to be a set-up created by Danica since killing humans is messier than offing vampires. Danica tapes it to trap Blade with legal authorities led by Chief Martin Vreede (Mark Berry).

We learn that Drake - better known as Dracula - is the original vampire. Danica brings him out of hiding to kill Blade since he’s a threat to the vampires. They also want to use Drake’s pure blood to create a solution that might allow other vampires to function in the daylight.

In the meantime, the media and police haunt Blade, who still works with elderly assistant Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). The old dude wants to bring in help, but Blade prefers to work on his own. However, Blade loses the option when police invade their compound, kill Whistler, and capture our anti-hero. Matters complicate when he finds out that some of his captors are “familiars”: humans who assist vampires.

When does Blade lose his solo status? When “Nightstalkers” bust into the station to rescue him from Danica and the others. The group of vampire hunters includes Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel). (Yes, Abigail is Whistler’s daughter.) Tensions arise between Blade and the Nightstalkers since he sees them as a group of amateurs. The rest of the movie follows on their attempts to halt the vampires via a new chemical solution while the fanged ones try to come up with their own formula.

What do we want from a Blade flick? Not much - just some cartoony action, clever gadgets and a variety of ways to kill vampires, and some frothy fun. Anything more than that falls into the “gravy” category, which is what made the first movie so satisfying; it delivered a terrific sense of style and some good performances to become something unusually vivid. Blade II wasn’t quite as enjoyable, but director Guillermo del Toro managed to create his own dark world along with a lot more solid action.

Right out of the box, it looks like director David Goyer - who wrote this script as well as the screenplays for the first two efforts - will bring out the best in Blade. The film’s early fights are quite exciting, especially the first time we see Blade in action. That sequence sizzles and sets up expectations that Goyer might deliver the goods.

Goyer also gives us a hint at an intriguing story path. During the prior two movies, we stayed almost exclusively in action that focused on Blade’s vampire-hunting activities. Trinity starts on a different path, as it looks like it’ll give Blade an even greater threat as he has to deal with civilian forces as well.

Unfortunately, the movie soon squanders its potential and turns into a messy, incoherent story. The battle between Blade and the civilian authorities plays a minor role, as mostly we see his interactions with the Nightstalkers and their activities. Very little of this seems coherent. The plot flits with various threads and abandons them without much thought.

This means it comes as a surprise that a screenwriter directed Trinity, but I suppose it makes some sense. I get the feeling that Goyer found it tough to edit himself. He appears so pleased with all of his ideas that he doesn’t want to lose any of them. Rather than combine them into a tight package, he crams them in to make a movie that fails to coalesce in a logical way. The story meanders and rarely works.

Trinity also features the weakest villain yet found in a Blade movie. Drake is a total non-entity, at least as played by Purcell. He creates a bland villain who never seems nearly as ominous or imposing as Dracula should be. Really, he feels more like a wrestling villain, and this means that we don’t care about the final battle since Drake never seems all that threatening. His biggest rampage occurs when he attacks a couple of goth poseurs in a vampire-themed shop. Casper the friendly ghost would be able to handle those two - this is supposed to intimidate us? Miller is dread in the role.

Actually, it often feels like all the major actors think they’re in different movies. Reynolds acts as though he’s trying out to be the fifth Ghostbuster. He tosses out one insipid quip after another, and this completely changes the dark tone of the prior flicks. This affects Snipes to some degree, as the movie occasionally gives Blade a Seventies sitcom feel. At times I thought he’d shout “Dyn-o-mite!” as the script forces him into uncharacteristic moments.

Then we have Biel, who appears to have inherited Blade’s old nads. She plays Abby as relentlessly dour and stern. This makes sense within the context of the usual Blade world, though given this flick’s campier bent, she feels somewhat out of place. Again, this means that the leads rarely connect, as they behave in ways that rarely mesh.

Maybe I could excuse the movie’s disjointed nature if it delivered quality action, and the flick’s early scenes look like that’ll occur. Our initial glimpse of Blade at work packs a strong punch, as we see some slick, engrossing action. Unfortunately, things quickly become less exciting. Subsequent action sequences lack the same power and usually come across as somewhat drab. Well, maybe “drab” isn’t the right word, but they’re more generic and don’t stand out from the crowd.

After the opening bits, Blade: Trinity quickly settles into a bland routine. It lacks the creativity and distinctiveness of the first two movies, and it fails to deliver enough lively action to make it consistently entertaining. Match those factors with erratic performances and characters plus a borderline incoherent plot and you have a messy disappointment.


The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus A

Blade: Trinity appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie boasted a very strong transfer.

Across the board, sharpness looked terrific. Virtually no softness ever crept into the presentation. The movie consistently came across as concise and distinctive. Jagged edges and shimmering created no concerns, and I also noticed only a smidgen of edge enhancement. No source flaws ever appeared, as the movie lacked marks, specks, debris or distractions of any kind.

Just like every other flick that tries to be hip and edgy, Trinity featured a highly stylized palette. During the early parts, the movie went with a golden tone, while later sequences opted for more of a bleached-out appearance. Within the confines of the visual design, the colors looked solid, as I noticed no bleeding, noise or other concerns. Blacks seemed dynamic and rich, while low-light shots demonstrated fine delineation and clarity. Nothing much interfered with the picture here, as the movie always looked great.

Similar thoughts greeted the audio of Blade: Trinity. The flick boasted both Dolby Digital EX 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 soundtracks. If any differences occurred to separate the two, I didn’t notice them. I thought both the Dolby and DTS mixes sounded virtually identical.

Big comic book movies usually come with big action soundtracks, and that was often the case with Blade: Trinity. The flick presented a consistent assault and used the various channels to good effect. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and the effects cropped up from various locations with good delineation and blending. Quieter scenes demonstrated a fine sense of atmosphere, and the louder ones kicked the action into higher gear. The movie didn’t present many real standout scenes, but it balanced the five channels with good involvement and activity.

No issues connected to audio quality occurred. Speech always appeared natural and concise, with no edginess or intelligibility problems. Music sounded robust and dynamic. Highs were tight, while low-end was deep and firm. Effects followed suit, with bright, accurate elements at all times. These never became distorted, and they kicked in with good bass response when necessary. All in all, the audio impressed.

Both prior Blade flicks packed on the extras, and this two-DVD release of Blade: Trinity doesn’t alter that rule. On Disc One, we find both the theatrical version of the film and the unrated extended cut. I only watched the theatrical edition for my review, but I picked up on some of the changes for the extended Trinity. I think the most substantial one comes from an alternate, darker ending. I like the fact that both versions appear on the same disc, though I should note that the theatrical cut’s seamless branching isn’t totally smooth, at least not on my player; I noticed brief pauses when it jumped to different material.

Also on DVD One, we get two separate audio commentaries. The first presents writer/director/producer David S. Goyer and actors Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. While better than the average actor-centric commentary, this one falls short of “slam-dunk” territory.

The piece consistently remains anecdotal in nature. We learn a lot of little tidbits like casting, training, and character information, but the majority of the remarks deal with the action on screen and tell us background about that. This means notes about improvisation and all the quirky details of the day.

On the positive side, the commentary remains light and breezy, with a nicely chatty and humorous tone. On the negative side, scads of happy talk appears here as the participants praise almost everything about the project. Dead air also becomes an issue at times, especially during the occasionally tedious second half of the track. It offers a generally likable listen, but it never threatens to become a classic.

For the second track, we hear from Goyer plus producers Peter Frankfurt and Lynn Harris, cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, production designer Chris Gorak, and editor Howard E. Smith. Everyone except the two producers sat together; Frankfurt and Harris were recorded as a pair separately and the two tapes got edited into one program. As one might expect, this piece deals with nuts and bolts issues. We hear a lot about lighting and cinematography as well as sets and locations, story and editing, stunts and effects, and general filmmaking topics.

At its best, this proves to be another light and engaging track, and it moves nicely during the film’s first half. Unfortunately, it echoes the problems I encountered during the prior commentary. It runs into a moderate amount of dead air through the flick’s second half, and it also provides an awful lot of general praise. I recommend that you give it a listen, but don’t expect a scintillating discussion.

When we head over to DVD Two, the big attraction comes from a lengthy documentary called Inside the World of Blade: Trinity - Daywalkers, Nightstalkers and Familiars. Comprised of 18 chapters that run a total of one hour, 46 minutes and 33 seconds, it presents the standard mix of movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We hear from Goyer, Biel, Reynolds, Harris, Frankfurt, Beristain, Gorak, Smith, executive producer Avi Arad, casting director Ronnie Yeskel, fight choreographer Chuck Jeffreys, stunt coordinator Clay Donahue Fontenot, conceptual artist Tyruben Ellingson, costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, special effects coordinator Rory Cutler, visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, visual effects production manager Greg Baxter, visual effects producer Joseph B. Conmy IV, composers the RZA and Ramin Djawadi, supervising sound editor Curt Schulkey, supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Aaron Glascock, foley artist John Roesch, re-recording mixer Skip Lievsay, digital intermediate colorist Jill Bogdanowicz, and actors Wesley Snipes, Triple H, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Dominic Purcell, Natasha Lyonne, and Kris Kristofferson.

The program covers Blade’s screen origins and story development, choosing the director and his influence, casting, characters and training, set and costume design, cinematography, weapons and stunts, editing, music and sound design, digital coloring and prospects for Blade’s future. We also hear some trivia from the shoot along with a glossary of terms used during the production like “daystar” and “ass-kickery”. As one might expect of a program that lasts nearly two hours, a lot of good information appears here. We find a nice overview of the production that fleshes out with details about virtually every appropriate subject. I especially like Smith’s deconstruction of his editing choices for a particular scene. However, “Inside” suffers from more praise and happy talk than usual for this sort of program. That means that while it definitely merits a look, it never quite becomes a genuinely great piece.

Next comes an unusual feature called Goyer on Goyer: The Writer Interviews the Director. This five-minute and 11-second piece offers exactly what the title implies: Goyer has a chat with himself. It’s a cute concept but it exists mainly as a promotional piece and doesn’t tell us anything new.

The Alternate Ending goes for 82 seconds. It focuses on the further exploits of the Nightstalkers and stands as clear opening for another film. It’s not a good scene, but it’s fun to see.

We find a 10-minute and 52-second Blooper Reel. Inevitably, this includes some of the usual goofs and giggles material typical for this sort of piece, but it also presents a nice mix of outtakes and improvisations. That makes it unusually entertaining and worth your time.

Two subdomains pop up in the Galleries area. The first covers “Visual Effects Progressions” and splits into three reels that demonstrate the progression of some transformation effects; those run 112 seconds, 176 seconds, and 93 seconds, respectively. “Weapons” cover 14 items used in the movie. Each one gets a frame of its own to show us the gadget and explain some things about it. Both are decent pieces but nothing special.

In the Trailers section, we get both the teaser and theatrical ad for Trinity plus a promo for its soundtrack. “More from New Line” also includes clips for Wedding Crashers, The New World, King’s Ransom, Constantine and the extended DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

For an Easter Egg, go to “Inside the World of Blade: Trinity on the main menu and click up. This highlights a symbol that looks like a “Q”; press “enter” to see a 58-second outtake of Blade as he hangs from the ceiling like a bat. Since we hear about this clip elsewhere, it’s good to actually see it.

In addition to all these disc-based materials, the package includes an exclusive comic book. This offers the origin story for the Nightstalkers, as we see Abby’s training and how Hannibal hooked up with her. It’s good to get this information and the comic’s stylish and fun.

After two very good movies, the franchise falls a bit flat with Blade: Trinity. Sure, the movie has its moments, but some decent action scenes aren’t enough to overcome to bizarrely quippy tone and disjointed story. As for the DVD, it presents excellent picture and audio with a broad and informative set of extras. Fans of Blade will probably find some entertainment here, but I can’t recommend this erratic film to anyone else.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4358 Stars Number of Votes: 39
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